Sunday, October 14, 2007

definitely a dish for olive lovers

this is a popular main course dish using citrons confits, or preserved lemons, & olives originating from north africa which, in the jewish (sefardi/moroccan spanish) community is served to break the fast on yom kippour or for the weekly sabbath. obviously, it needs no special occasion and can be served for an everyday meal or dinner party.

called poulet aux olives et citrons confits, traditionally it is a dish which is slowed cooked in the conical shaped clay tagine which traps the steam and redistributes the juices back into the tajine as it bakes. one can successfully make this in a regular dutch oven type pot or roasting pan with perfectly good results, too.

some recipes for this dish call for a variety of spices — i prefer it simple with its core elements and minimal spicing. of course, you may add things like a stick of cinnamon and a few cloves or whatever suits your taste. sometimes, however, less is more.

the only drawback, if you want to call it that, in making this recipe is that it needs to marinate for a few hours before cooking, so plan accordingly. usually, it gets put together in the morning and cooked in the late afternoon or early evening.

it also reheats well but really isn't suitable to being frozen.

poulet aux olives et citrons confits

serves 4 - 6


1 chicken, cut into serving pieces

1/4 c chopped coriander (or parsley)
1 tsp salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp pepper

3 - 4 good sized cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 heaped tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ginger (powder)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp saffron threads* (or turmeric)
2 tbsp olive oil

water, depending on size of chicken (see below)

1 handful green olives, pitted
1 - 2 pcs citrons confits
1 - 2 tsp sugar (to balance salt & brine of olives)

extra cilantro and/or parsley to garnish

*try to use saffron as it does not compare to turmeric at all.


cut chicken and wash it off. place on paper towel and remove excess water.

place the spices in a bowl or dish and add the olive oil. mix well to make a paste.

salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.

shmear the paste on the chicken pieces and cover and let marinate for a few hours in the fridge.

heat a dutch oven for several minutes over medium heat and then add a bit of oil. carefully add the chicken pieces and let fry on one side only for 12 minutes or so. it's best to fry on the side you did not have much marinade on. (tip: if you add your chicken when the pot is hot enough, the chicken should not stick to the bottom).

add water until it comes up about 1/2 way of the chicken pieces.

bring to a boil and cover. let simmer on medium low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

remove chicken pieces from pot and place on a plate.

return the pot to the heat and place on high. cook the broth until reduced by half.

add the olives and chopped preserved lemons. add the sugar. stir.

add the chicken pieces back to the pot and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes on low heat, with the lid on.

taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

garnish with extra chopped coriander and/or parsley.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful dish! I'm an olive lover, so that's be very successful at my table



burekaboy — said...

hi rosa :) - thanks. i make this fairly often as i really love olives, too. unfortunately, not every else does, so you have to know your crowd before making this chicken dish.

Anonymous said...

b.b. este plato es muy español también, salvo por los limones.tendré que probarlo, pero con aceitunas negras, me encantan!

burekaboy — said...

hola chiquita sarita - ;) es verdad, los ingredientes en este plato - con la excepcion de los limones - son muy espanoles. (no te gustan las aceitunas verdes?) debe ser muy bueno con algunas aceitunas negras marroquíes y tal vez un poco de pimenton ahumado tambien.

Anonymous said...

I took out Chicken to make this dish tonight. Looks wonderful BB, I bet it tasted so good.

TopChamp said...

Hi - watched a show on telly by Heston Blumenthal (science chef) in which he proved that marinading for several hours affects the tenderness of the meat, and that the coating pentrates it. It def works then!

And this recipe answers my questions when I saw you preserving lemons of - 'what d'you wanna preserve lemons for?'.

burekaboy — said...

jamila - hope you like the dish and it turns out well. you may want to increase the spices or change them a bit to suit your family's tastes. it's super easy to make and is very good. btw, i know that some people add butter to the sauce but i don't do it. it's supposed to make a richer sauce.

sorry to answer you after the fact...

hi TC - i just saw something about heston blumenthal last month. he sounds like an interesting character. yup, marinating does help a lot to tenderize meats and increase the flavours of the final dish.

lol to the lemons -- not exactly up there with dill pickles for snack food :))) they do taste very good though once they've sat the month and are not harsh/acrid at all as they are in the raw state.

Arabic Bites said...

Hi bb,
I keep forgetting to comment on your great recipes.

Everything always looks so tasty,Thanks for sharing!


burekaboy — said...

hi zainab :) - lol, that's ok, don't worry about it; glad to know you're still visiting. i've been very busy with work and not had time to visit any blogs the past 2 1/2 - 3 weeks so i have a lot to catch up on. i'm sure you'll have many nice things i'll find when i visit (or try to!) this weekend!

thanks for your nice comment about what i've posted :)

Anonymous said...

Made this last week. It was delicious, as all your recipes are! Planning to make it for Pesach too. Your flourless chocolate cake, pot roast and roasted veggis soup is also on my Pesach list. Hope the cleaning is going well!


burekaboy — said...

hey deanna - oh wow, you made it! :)) glad you liked!! it's one of my faves. did you make the preserved lemons or used ones you bought? the other recipes are yum yum (but hey, i'm biased!)....the chocolate cake stays moist for up to a week, if you can believe it.

pesach cleaning?! don't ask!! i have to email you so check your mail - either tomorrow or sunday; haven't forgotten about your last email. talk to you later! thanks for letting me know how it turned out.